Why use the library? — Relationships

Storytime at the libraryLibraries Build Relationships
People are connecting at their libraries, whether it’s with media, technology or one another.

Libraries are fertile grounds for learning and relationship building. Everyone from tots and teens to seniors and volunteers can use their local library as a springboard for enriching relationships. At the center of this continuing process are librarians, who help transfer a wealth of services and reference experience to their communities. Additionally, local library readings, career-building workshops and senior-oriented programs further strengthen the relationships between users and staff.

Despite the onslaught of technology and its advancements, people are seeking resources available at their local libraries more so than ever before.

In what ways are libraries forging valuable relationships with their communities?

Local library programs, such as Toddler Time and Preschool Story Time, expose even the youngest audiences to benefits of group learning. Children have the chance to build relationships with librarians and other kids during special events like Bedtime Story Time, where they sing songs, make crafts and have milk and cookies—all while wearing their jammies!

One of the most successful relationship-building programs is Teen Tech Week, an annual event held each March that promotes and showcases technology available to teens. More than 1,500 libraries across the country took part in ALA’s most recent program, where several relationship-building seminars centered around students, librarians and cross-generational users were presented. As information technology professionals, librarians provide guidance for the program, empowering teens to make informed decisions about their Internet usage.

Some local library branches have created relationships within their facilities by launching Tech Buddies programs. The program matches teens with seniors who would like to become better versed in technology and also teaches Internet safety and privacy skills. In focusing on the more entertaining aspects of technology—including podcasts, short videos and video games—teens and seniors gather for Wii games and snacks for a 10-week period, building a cross-generational bond under the guidance of their local library.

Now more than ever, libraries have become a major resource for the unemployed, who can take advantage of the technology services available at libraries and obtain assistance filing for unemployment.

Libraries also offer courses and workshops to engage their communities in discussions, such as book clubs, cultural programs and events to celebrate special moments in history. These are just a few ways libraries work to foster relationship with their communities.